UK Unravels Genetics of Euro Swine Flu Strain

Better understanding of virus 'significant step' toward vaccine
By Jess Kilby,  Newser User
Posted May 9, 2009 11:59 AM CDT
Senior research scientist Dr. Karuna Karunakaran works in the vaccine research lab at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control on Thursday April 30, 2009.    (AP Photo/Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press)
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(Newser) – Researchers in the UK have mapped the complete genetic fingerprint of the strain of H1N1 virus affecting Europe, bringing scientists a step closer to creating a vaccine, the BBC reports. By comparing the blueprint with genetic data from the North American strain, experts hope to better understand how the virus operates and how it might mutate.

"The pure sample of virus that we have isolated, together with its genetic fingerprint, will be important resources as scientific organizations join forces on the development of an effective vaccine,” said the lead researcher. "The rapid assessment of this virus will ultimately help us to make future decisions regarding the health implications of swine flu.” The WHO has confirmed 2,500 cases of the flu worldwide, and 44 deaths.